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Alice Capsey shows promising future ahead

Alice Capsey of Oval Invincibles celebrates during The Hundred match between Oval Invincibles Women and London Spirit Women at The Kia Oval on August
Alice Capsey of Oval Invincibles celebrates during The Hundred match between Oval Invincibles Women and London Spirit Women at The Kia Oval on August 14, 2021 in London, England.
©Ashley Allen - ECB/ECB via Getty Images

By Ellen McLaughlin, ECB Hundred Rising Reporter, London

One of the undoubted joys of The Hundred has been the new storylines that it has produced, most significantly in the women’s game.

On Saturday at the Kia Oval the latest chapter in Alice Capsey’s young career was enacted with the England captain, Heather Knight, in the opposite corner.

Both players have vastly contrasting experiences.

But such is The Hundred, both have been equally watchable for their own reasons during the competition this summer.

Knight has travelled the world appearing almost 200 times for her country whilst blending in one-day experience in both Australia and England.

She has proved herself to be one of the world’s premier all-rounders after assuming the England captaincy at the mere age of 25.

Knight is both a leader and a performer at all levels of the game.

In stark contract Capsey was only able to play in The Hundred this summer after the Invincibles had sought permission from her mother to play.

Capsey, who just celebrated her 17th birthday on Wednesday, progressed through the Surrey system from youth to county and was in the under 11s at the age of eight.

To put that into context, Knight had at that point made her England debut two years earlier.

Today their career paths crossed in the London derby.

After being sent in Knight set about building a total using her wealth of experience and knowledge to pace an innings.

She constantly pushed the run rate and applied pressure on the bowlers. A combination of power and placement created a solid start for the Spirit.

But Capsey had different ideas.

The teenager returned to the bowling attack with Knight and Tammy Beamount going well.

With Capsey’s second delivery she dismissed the England captain - caught off a top edge.

It marked a bowling performance that belied her tender years, blending variations of her right-hand off-breaks, and producing impressive figures wo from 15 from 20 balls.

At one stage she bowled 10 balls in a row and conceding just five runs.

It was the sort of tactical ploy that The Hundred has created and perhaps an example of one huge advtange Capsey has despite being the youngest player in the competition.

Capsey participated in the ECB Schools Hundred competition; so, has more experience of this new and unique format than most of her more senior peers and team-mates.

Sarah Taylor another England player on the comeback trail through The Hundred coached Capsey at Bede’s School and honed her all-round skills.

Capsey seems set on the same career path as she has emerged in the past month as a future superstar.

The only frustration for the home fans, after Invincibles claimed a comprehensive win by chasing down 103 with 13 balls to spare, was that Capsey was not needed to bat.

But the spectators got to see a comparison of quality that will shape women’s cricket for a while to come – a clear reason why crowd record are being broken for the women’s game.

Whilst Knight is far from the end of her career, it is interesting to see her matches against a young player like Capsey and in front of a big crowd and a pressure environment – even if the teen is almost half her age and is performing so well when she is playing around her studies.

The fans saw two players who can only be differentiated by experience not ability.

One can only speculate what a 30-year-old Alice Capsey will have achieved.

:: The ECB’s Hundred Rising is providing eight aspiring, young journalists the opportunity to tell the story of The Hundred men’s and women’s competitions through their own eyes.